To help ensure that you don't lose your files, you should back them up regularly. You can set up automatic backups or manually back up your files at any time.

Watch this video to learn how to back up your files (0:57)

To back up your files

  1. Open Backup and Restore by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking System and Maintenance, and then clicking Backup and Restore.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • If you've never used Windows Backup before, click Set up backup, and then follow the steps in the wizard. Administrator permission required If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

    • If you've created a backup before, you can wait for your regularly scheduled backup to occur, or you can manually create a new backup by clicking Back up now. Administrator permission required If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

Notes

  • We recommend that you don't back up your files to the same hard disk that Windows is installed on.

  • Always store media used for backups (external hard disks, DVDs, or CDs) in a secure place to prevent unauthorized people from having access to your files—we recommend a fireproof location separate from your computer. You might also consider encrypting the data on your backup.

To create a new, full backup

After you create your first backup, Windows Backup will add new or changed information to your subsequent backups. If you're saving your backups on a hard drive or network location, Windows Backup will create a new, full backup for you automatically when needed. If you're saving your backups on CDs or DVDs and can't find an existing backup disc, or if you want to create a new backup of all of the files on your computer, you can create a full backup. Here's how to create a full backup:

  1. Open Backup and Restore by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking System and Maintenance, and then clicking Backup and Restore.

  2. In the left pane, click Create new, full backup.

    Note

    • You will only see this option if your backup is being saved on CDs or DVDs.

To set up a backup after upgrading from a previous version of Windows

After you upgrade Windows, you will need to set up Windows Backup, even if you had a scheduled backup in the previous version of Windows. This is because there are several changes to the backup program. Instead of selecting file types to back up, you can have Windows back up data files saved in libraries, on the desktop, and in default Windows folders, or you can choose specific libraries and folders to be backed up. You can also create a system image of your computer. For more information, see How does Windows choose which files to back up?

To set up your backup, follow these steps:

  1. Open Backup and Restore by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking System and Maintenance, and then clicking Backup and Restore.

  2. Click Set up backup, and then follow the steps in the wizard. Administrator permission required If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.



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